Tagged: Tim Lincecum

The Draft

Strasburg went number one.  

Thank God, otherwise all the hype would have been for naught.
I’ve written about Strasburg before, and I’ll do it again for just a moment, but the majority of this post doesn’t have much to do with him, per se, but more of the draft and its process.
I’ve seen Strasburg, not extensively, of course, but two starts on ESPNU during the regular season, and his loan start in the post season (which he lost), and I have to say, yeah he’s good.  He is not, however, Tom Seaver, or for a position player comparison, Al Kaline–guys who were Major League-ready their first day on the job.
Nope.
And his fastball isn’t 103 mph either.  Its a helluva fastball, for sure, sitting at 95-99 into the seventh inning at time, but it isn’t 103.  I don’t think Joel Zumaya actually hits 103 mph, either, but thats beside the point.  
But he is good.  I can’t take that away from him, and wouldn’t try, but for god sakes, he just put up video-game like numbers against (ahem) college students.
I’m good friends with a great deal of division one college ball players, and I can say, half the team at any given time for mid-major (to borrow from football) conferences, aren’t all that good.  And further, aren’t going to be playing much after their days on campus are concluded.
So, first, The Aztecs of San Diego State play in the Mountain West, by definition, a mid major.  They played hardly anybody any good all season.  The “hardly” would be teams like Cal State Fullerton (twice) and UCLA (twice).  Playing a bunch of kids from UNLV who are looking forward to beer-pong-a-palooza after the game (win or lose) is significantly different from pitching against grown men who’s livelihood depend upon their success–and their failure.
I don’t need to site Todd Van Poppel, or more recently, Mark Prior, but I just did, and I’m sure you get the picture.  Lights-out as amateurs, flame-outs as pros (though I wish we could at least find out what it is exactly that happened to Prior).
I hate to keep ripping on the kid, but for crying out loud, thats what he is, a kid.  The problem with potential is that it has paved the road to Durham, Toledo, Wilkes-Bar, and Pawtucket, and with the hype, pressure, and expectations of Strasburg, he can go nowhere, but, unfortunately, down.
If he doesn’t sign tomorrow and do his best Mark Fidrych impersonation and win at least 19 games in a shortened season, he’s a failure.  Not by my estimations personally, but because for the monetary demands he’s rumored to be seeking (and with his agent, the anti-christ incarnate, the rumor is probably true) are going to elevate him to a place he isn’t ready to be in.
Which brings me to my next point.  The draft of baseball has been a crapshoot for ever, with the first round being the most reliable, but most after that a hit-or-miss endeavor.  How many guys got drafted ahead of Mike Piazza again?
But now that Major League Baseball is trying to make the draft something it isn’t, and shouldn’t strive to be, it’s also bringing about the same problems the other drafts have: money.
Which is not to say that money wasn’t a problem before, but now with the draft becoming some sort of entertainment spectacle its just becoming more of a public problem, and therefore a harder problem to combat.
No slotting system (good or bad, I dunno) combined with the ***-backwards view of what exactly the draft if for are creating a situation in which the draft is just going to be a joke, an after thought.
And my feelings on the players and they money they make have been documented, and I’m not saying that players do not deserve to get paid, because they do, and I’m not saying owners should have to fork out slave-wages, because they shouldn’t.
But who deserves fifty million bucks?  A player who has played exactly zero innings professionally, or a guy who has won the rookie of the year, MVP, and a pair of home run titles?
Or if Ryan Howard isn’t a valid comparison, how about a guy who has won a Cy Young, led the league in strikeouts (and thats the National League, not the Mountain West League), and has won 30 games in the Show?
Lincecum deserves 50 million bucks before Strasburg does.
The draft isn’t where players earn their money.
The draft is supposed to be where players get their shot at making money.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but free agency and arbitration is where players get their money, where they get what they deserve.
Not the draft.
Justin Verlander has won more than fifty games in the show in his five years in the bigs and he hasn’t made four million dollars in his entire career.
To give a guy who has thrown exactly zero pitches in the Show a kings ransom is ridiculous on a level thats hard to fathom.
Like when our President once said, “that depends on what your definition of ‘is,’ is.”  
Fix the draft or else it’ll be just the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, and Dodgers drafting all the good players because they’re the only ones who can afford them.
The draft is for lousy teams to rebuild, not for the rich, and successful, to reload with youth.
–RM
PS
I also think the other drafts are broken and stupid, too, not just MLB’s.
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